POLICE are warning they ‘will not hesitate to take action’ if Cheshire residents flout coronavirus rules as new tighter restrictions come into force.

Six months on from the first day of lockdown, new restrictions have come into force today, September 24, as coronavirus cases continue to rise both nationally and across the county.

All hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses now have to close by 10pm, while fines of up to £200 can be handed to people not wearing face masks or breaking the ‘rule of six’.

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims, from Cheshire Police, says the force will engage with residents, explain the law and encourage people to follow the rules – but officers will use enforcement when needed.

She said: “The vast majority of people have been listening to the advice, sticking to the rules and following the guidance in place to limit the spread of the virus.

“However, it is disappointing that a small minority are still choosing to flout the regulations in place and, with the infection rate spreading rapidly, we will not hesitate to take action where we need to – especially for the most serious breaches.

“We will not allow those who continue to ignore the rules to reverse the hard work and efforts of everyone else.”

The warning comes following another rise in the latest weekly figures for coronavirus across Cheshire.

Cheshire West, including Northwich and Winsford, saw 137 new cases of Covid-19 in the week up to September 20 compared to 106 the week before.

Meanwhile, in Cheshire East – which includes Knutsford, Wilmslow and Middlewich – there were 120 new cases of Covid-19 in the week up to September 20 compared to 97 the week before.

Ass Chf Con Sims added: “The past six months have been a challenging time for us all but the people of Cheshire have come together and shown great solidarity and community spirit in the fight against this deadly virus.

“Now more than ever, as we enter a new phase of restrictions, we need the continued support of the local community in an effort to reduce the spread.

“We do not want to stop people from being able to do the things they enjoy but this needs to be done in a responsible and measured way to reduce any further spread of the virus as much as possible.

“The rules are there for a reason – to keep us all safe – and we all need to play our part to protect our family, our friends, the communities we live in and, most importantly, the NHS."